Israeli forces were encircling southern Gaza’s main city on Wednesday, battling Hamas militants through streets and buildings in some of the most intense combat of the two-month war. The intensified bombardment sent streams of ambulances and cars racing to hospitals with wounded and dead Palestinians, including children. The focus of the conflict has shifted to the besieged territory’s south following fierce fighting and bombardment that reduced much of the north to rubble and forced nearly two million people to flee their homes. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1). 

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Palestinians mourn their relatives in front of the morgue at the hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023.
Palestinians mourn their relatives in front of the morgue at the hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. © Adel Hana, AP

Summary: 

  • Israeli troops said Tuesday was “the most intense day of fighting” in Gaza since the ground attack in began almost six weeks ago.
  • Israel said its troops had entered the major southern city of Khan Younis after bombarding it overnight.
  • The IDF said they had mounted an attack into Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

  • Hamas official Osama Hamdan said in a press conference on Tuesday that there will be no negotiations or exchange of detainees until Israel’s aggression in the Gaza Strip stops.
  • The Israeli military ordered Palestinians sheltering in Khan Younis to flee westwards towards the Mediterranean coast or further south towards Rafah near the Egyptian border. Gazans are running out of places to flee, warned aid groups, as the number of displaced residents mounted to 1.9 million, according to the UN
  • Hamas attacked southern Israeli communities on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages, according to the Israeli government. Since then, at least 16,248 people, including 7,112 children, have been killed in Israel’s ensuing assault on the Gaza Strip, the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry said. At least 43,616 people have been injured and at least 7,600 people are missing, the Hamas media office said.

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Yesterday’s key developments

  • At least 25 people were killed Tuesday in a strike that hit a southern Gaza school sheltering Palestinians displaced by war, the Hamas-run health ministry said.

  • The Israeli army said on Tuesday that 82 soldiers had been killed since the start of its offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

  • President Joe Biden on Tuesday forcefully denounced the reported rape and sexual violence against Israeli girls and women by Hamas militants following the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
  • The United States said Tuesday it would refuse visas for extremist Israeli settlers behind a wave of violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, as it also asked Israel to do more to spare civilians in Gaza.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says the Israeli military will have to retain open-ended security control over the Gaza Strip long after its war against Hamas ends.

  • France on Tuesday imposed asset freezes on Hamas’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar.

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